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Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Promoting inclusion

March has been recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month since 1987 when President Ronald Reagan issued a public proclamation urging Americans to provide individuals with developmental disabilities “the encouragement and opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.” 

While there has been significant and positive change in the decades since, many challenges remain for this vulnerable population.  

At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, we are unrelenting advocates for individuals living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences, and strongly believe this population can make a positive difference in their communities, if given the opportunity to unlock their human potential. 

“Devereux strives to meet the unique needs of the individuals we serve by providing compassionate care and treatment, and empowering children and adults to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to educate our communities about the challenges facing this population, and to teach the importance of inclusion in every aspect of a person’s life.”  

Expanding the conversation: #DDAwareness19

Recent estimates show that about one in six children in the U.S., between the ages of three and 17 (or about 15 percent), have one or more developmental disabilities.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developmental disabilities are defined as impairments in physical, learning, language or behavior areas, and include:  

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Learning or intellectual disabilities
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision impairment
  • Other developmental delays 

Each year, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) holds a campaign for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to raise awareness about developmental disabilities, communicate the importance of inclusion and share stories of individuals with disabilities. To expand the conversation of inclusion and accessibility, the NACDD is encouraging the public to share stories, photos, videos and resources about topics such as education, employment and community living on social media throughout the month of March – using the Twitter hashtag #DDAwareness19. The NACDD wants to showcase the work being done to celebrate and improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.  

Devereux provides support across all stages of life

As part of Devereux’s continuum of care, the nonprofit provides innovative programs and services for youth and adults with developmental disabilities. Just of few of these programs include: 

  • Residential treatment settings provide resources – for those who may need 24-hour care – to help meet an individual's treatment, social and educational goals. These residential programs improve quality of life and offer the potential to return home or progress to community-based residential living.
  • Community-based living offers more independent living options for individuals to reside within their communities, whether in group homes, lifesharing or supported apartments.
  • Outpatient/specialized services are designed to meet an individual's treatment needs in the least restrictive environment possible. Services may include: wrap around, respite, clinical and educational assessments, family counseling, medication management and parent and sibling consultations.
  • Special education day schools offer innovative educational programs within a structured environment that prepare students for returning to their local educational communities.
  • Therapeutic foster care support a diverse population of at-risk children and their families. Services range from intensive clinical intervention, traditional foster care, respite services and case management for children in the foster care system.
  • Employment and transition services provide support to transition-age youth and adults, and include prevocational training, community-supported employment and pre-employment day programs.  

Click here to learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, and how we can help your loved ones achieve their full potential.

  

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